A leading tier one supplier of castings and machined components has tapped into specialist support to manage its energy costs after seeing sales rocket by £15m.
Shield Group, which operates from six different manufacturing divisions across Coventry, Leicestershire, Northampton and Oldham, has just hit £80m for the first time in its 69-year history after securing new work to supply lightweight parts for the off-highway, automotive and power generation markets.
The company was faced with major increases in production and needed to manage energy consumption and spiraling utilities costs so it could manage the surge in volumes and create a platform for attracting even more work.
It turned to Control Energy Costs (CEC), a specialist in utility management, procurement and support services, to provide a complete audit of the utility accounts and a review of how it could reduce its carbon footprint whilst also cutting spend.
This has proved a wise approach, with the outcome of the report revealing a number of ways where the firm could reduce energy expenditure by adopting new working practices, agreeing fixed utility contracts and introducing more efficient manufacturing processes.
“When you are growing at the rate we are, one of the biggest costs to the business will be the amount of energy we use,” explained Chris Shield, Group Managing Director.
“We used to look after this in-house, but recognised the need to get an expert in to take a holistic overview to all of our outputs…it wasn’t just a case of reviewing it though, we wanted someone who would be pro-active and come up with solutions that would give us performance and cost improvements.”
He continued: “This is exactly what CEC did, with Chris Ellis leading a team of specialists that have successfully reduced the amount of energy we use by 15% – a significant achievement when you consider how energy intensive our businesses are.
“They understand how to negotiate the best contracts, can advise on the schemes out there that give you support and have a fantastic overview of legislation so we know all of our activity is compliant.”
One of the recent exercises completed by Control Energy Costs has been to reduce Shield Group’s Green Tax liability, resulting in six figure savings per annum.
Other improvements have been the installation of LED lighting across all of its six sites, investment in a new form of melting and supporting training to help employees understand the role they have to play.
CEC’s Chris Ellis added his support: “Chris and the team have done a fantastic job in growing the Group and it is fast becoming one of the UK’s best manufacturing success stories.
“When you are expanding quickly, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of non-core activities, which is where we come in. Working with all levels of Shield’s workforce, we were able to put in place a blueprint for not just saving energy, but also making operations more efficient and identifying Government support that makes introducing these processes easier.”
Shield Group, which has increased its workforce from 460 in 2016 to its current 670 staff, plans further investments across all of its manufacturing facilities and is also edging nearer to another acquisition.
Control Energy Costs work with more than 900 companies across the UK every year, with its team of analysts providing an initial, no-obligation audit and then working with the customer to identify existing issues and opportunities to reduce bills or secure better supply contracts.
The company has recently opened a new Bromsgrove office to service its expanding Midlands client base, whilst also launching CEC Direct as a transparent, clear and valuable alternative to the majority of energy brokers.
Unlike most, it declares what it will do and its costs in a Service Agreement with the client, removing hidden fees or hidden commission.